19:40 01 Jan 2024

Solutions from Ukraine: new support center opens in Chernihiv to aid women and children affected by war

"Елеос-Україна" підтримує українських жінок. Фото: надала Тетяна Іванова "Eleos-Ukraine" advocates for Ukrainian women. Photo provided by Tetiana Ivanova.

The "Women's Hub of St. Olha" Day Center will officially open in Chernihiv on January 15. This facility will provide free support and assistance to women and children impacted by the war.

The project manager, Tetiana Ivanova, reported this to ShoTam.

What is the problem?

Even before the start of the full-scale invasion, Eleos-Ukraine had considerable experience in combating domestic violence, where those who needed help, shelter, and psychological or legal support were taken care of.

The first shelter was created in 2021. Since then, comprehensive assistance has been provided: consultations, shelters, etc. Since the start of the full-scale invasion, the challenges have increased, and the network of shelters has begun to expand.

What is the solution?

On January 15, the Day Center "Women's Hub of St. Olha" will be opened in Chernihiv, which will take care of women and children affected by the war free of charge.

A gym, yoga, physical rehabilitation, educators, psychologists, and employment consultants will be waiting at the center for those who need support.

How does it work?

"Supporting those who suffered from the Russian-Ukrainian war is one of the main tasks we set ourselves. For this, it was necessary to create a place where the victims could feel safe and not be left alone with the consequences of the war.

We set out to organize shelters for displaced people in the Ivano-Frankivsk, Rivne, and Chernivtsi regions to take care of the well-being and future of those who cannot return home due to hostilities or because the Russians destroyed their homes," the project manager Tetiana Ivanova noted.

She said that in 2023, their team decided it was time to move on and create new locations and services for those affected by the Russian invasion.

In a few months, they developed the idea of the Day Center, "Women's Hub of St. Olha." They wanted this center to grow into a community among residents and forcibly displaced persons.

The main concept was to bring together a large group of individuals in a supportive environment where they could access assistance from psychologists and physical therapy experts. The goal was to create a sense of safety in a country currently experiencing war.

Choosing a city where such a center could be created was necessary.

"We decided that it should be Chernihiv. People are living here and in the region who had to experience all the consequences of the war. The region survived the occupation, the city was bombed, and people are still recovering from what happened.

So we finally settled on Chernihiv and started looking for premises. I can say that the city itself is quite small compared to other cities in our country. That's why it wasn't easy to find what I needed," the project manager emphasizes.

The day center is a social project, so we were looking for a one-story, inclusive building so that people with disabilities could also visit us without problems.

"Our choice was reduced until we found what we needed. The premises needed renovation, but this was already the beginning. Our team had to go to Chernihiv more than once to make sure we chose something from which we could create a support center.

Fortunately, the city authorities of Chernihiv supported our idea to create a Day Center. We rent the premises for a nominal fee – less than two hryvnias – and we plan to complete the renovation very soon," he recalls.

More than two months have been spent here on the restoration of the premises, and on January 15, they plan to open the center's doors.

Rooms for psycho-emotional support for those who need it and a gym are being set up in the Day Center. It will be used by those who need physical rehabilitation.

Photo: provided by Tetiana Ivanova

For this purpose, specialists in their field were selected, and training was conducted for those who will work with local and internally displaced persons living in Chernihiv.

"Our specialists are already working with the injured; however, for now, they are outsourced. Also, we are already conducting physical rehabilitation in the gym, which has become our partner. After the "Women's Hub of St. Olha" opening, visitors can do fitness, yoga, and master exercise machines together with a trainer.

Mothers who don't have anyone to leave their children with can also come to the center. We will have a teacher-educator who will free up their time so that they can receive services: work with a psychologist individually or in a group, get employment counseling, or visit the gym," the manager says.

Photo: provided by Tetiana Ivanova

Similar centers are planned to be opened in many regions of the country in the future.

Humanitarian hubs and shelters from Eleos-Ukraine currently operate in several cities.

"We hope that in the future, we can help in other cities as well – where it is most needed.

With international support, our team is primed to pursue ambitious goals, thanks to the backing of major European organizations and donors and kindhearted individuals from the Far East, such as Japan and the United States of America.

In the meantime, we are waiting for those who need support in Chernihiv from January 15, 2024, at the Day Center "Women's Hub of St. Olha," Tetiana Ivanova summed up.

One can visit the center in Chernihiv for free from Monday to Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The project is implemented with the donor support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and the Latvian organization MARTA Center.

For reference:

It should be noted that a modular town was built in Chernihiv. 81 warrants have already been issued, and people are gradually moving into the apartments of the modular village, which was created thanks to the cooperation of the Chernihiv City Council and the National Committee of the Red Cross Society.

It was also reported that the maternity hospital in Chernihiv, damaged during the shelling by Russian missiles during active hostilities in February-March 2022, was restored. At the same time, the number of women giving birth has halved compared to the period before the full-scale war.

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